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Foster-dog Trevor learns about life

Tomorrow marks the end of Trevor’s second week here at Reddog Central, and he’s come a long way in a very short time! Big improvements in housebreaking, crate training, knowing his name and the meaning of “No!” and, best of all, being able to play outside with both of my dogs! He’s been on doxycycline for eight days now, so three weeks more ’til he can start his heartworm treatment.

Trevor enjoys the run of the yard

Except for the very first day, he hasn’t tried to mark in the house, but he was tethered to me for all of the first week, so he had very little opportunity. I’ve now received Belly Bands that fit him, so he can have more freedom without me having to worry about the furniture, but I’m not sure they were necessary. He seems to have quickly realized that marking is Not Allowed in the house. He’s had no accidents in his crate after the first couple of days, either, which makes me very happy.

[lj-cut text=”This week’s milestones…”]If he knew his name was Ponzi at the shelter, he certainly doesn’t seem to have been confused by the name change. He didn’t respond much to his name (or any words) for the first few days, seeming to hear everything I said as Charlie Brown’s Teacher-style gibberish… “Wah wah, wah wah, wah wah wah.” “Outside” and “inside” were the first things he started to reliably respond to, and I suspect that something-side just means “go through the nearest door” to him at this point. It works, so I’ll take it. He’s pretending that “kennel up” isn’t in his vocabulary yet, but “Do you want dinner? Kennel up!” pretty reliably gets a response (though he’ll come right back out if his food bowl doesn’t appear immediately). He’s responding to “Good boy!” now, which certainly makes the rest of the training easier. Now we just need to work on leash manners, which should be easier since the snow is gone (again), making the street safe for walking.

Best of all, though, this morning was his first opportunity to interact with Drummer with them both loose out in the yard. The background here is that Drummer is an intact male and fully convinced that he is the alpha critter at my house. Trevor is intact and won’t be neutered until after he goes through heartworm treatment, and he outweighs Drummer by about 10 pounds. Trevor has shown all the signs of being happy to not be alpha, but I like to take my time and manage the introduction carefully, so I let them get used to each other for the first two weeks without actually being loose together, and I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to make that all-important first real introduction.

Today, I was home from work for the morning dealing with the remnants of water in my basement after Sunday night’s epic rain-and-thaw cycle. It was a lovely day out… sunny, cold enough that the ground was frozen again instead of soggy, and it was a weekday, which meant that if there was an altercation, I wouldn’t be paying emergency vet prices if somebody needed stitches. So I let Thunder and Trevor out first, and they started their normal morning circuit of marking every tree, shrub and fencepost, then I went back in and got Drummer and his Flying Squirrel, draped a couple of my favorite slip leads around my neck Just In Case, and out we went into the sunshine.

Thunder and Trevor were down in the far end of the yard, still making the rounds, and Drummer was totally focused on the Flying Squirrel. I saw him notice that Trevor was outside, but the desire to investigate the new guy was far outweighed by the excitement of waiting for me to “Throw it, Mom! Nownownow… what are you _waiting_ for?!?!?” and we got in several good returns before the other boys came up to investigate. I kept the game going, and watched as Trevor started following along, chasing Drummer as he chased the toy. So far, so good!

Then I made the crucial mistake. One bad toss put Drummer’s favorite toy right at Trevor’s feet. Oops. Trevor reached for the Flying Squirrel. Drummer came zooming up and barreled right into him while making a tunnel-visioned grab for the toy. They looked at each other from opposite sides of 10 inches of orange and blue toy. There was very brief (and very normal!) snark that signified “Hey, new guy, that’s mine!” and it was over. Trevor happily backed off, ceding possession to the fuzzy redhead. And that was it. All my worry about how their first meeting would go and there was just a growl, an acquiescence, and then they continued to play. That couldn’t have gone better!

The boys play in the yard for the first time


With no drama, they come running back to me.

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Next steps… leash manners, “sit,” “wait” and taking treats gently (those last two are related… to each other and to my bruised finger).

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2 Responses to “Foster-dog Trevor learns about life”

  1. June 30th, 2011 at 9:54 am

    School for dog trainers says:

    Aw what I great story! Trevor seems to be enjoying himself. Kudos to you for taking in a foster dog!

  2. November 23rd, 2011 at 11:28 am

    jill@Charlotte dog training says:

    Trevor is so beautiful, what a unique coat he has! Good luck with the continued training, it takes patience but with dogs with wits like yours it will definitely pay off.

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